China is a land of inherent contradiction.
China is the birthplace of civilizational altering philosophies, religions, and politics such as Confucianism, Maoism, and Chinese Buddhism (which still incorporates most of East and South-East Asia). Yet, in the modern era, they are more prominently renowned for their state capitalist ideology that entails producing low-end consumer goods and creating massive amounts of pollution.
In 1817 Napoleon warned the world that "When China rises, the world will tremble." Not 20 years afterward Foreign Secretary (and future Prime Minister) Lord Palmerston regarded the Chinese as "uncivilized" and suggested that the British Empire attack them. This policy was enacted to demonstrate England's imperial superiority and to demonstrate what a "civilized" nation could inflict upon a rising competitor (this led to the First Opium War).
Chairman Mao Zedong (Mao Tsetung), the Communist Party leader of China from its inception as a modern nation in 1949, until his death in 1976, helped raise millions out of dire poverty, provided basic education to Chinese citizens, and created health care system where none previously existed. He reasserted China's prestige on the world stage after more than a century of humiliation at the hands of the British and the Japanese. Simultaneously though, Mao's rule included some of the most horrific, violent, and brutal events in human history. This includes the 'The Great Leap Forward' in which Mao tried to rapidly restructure the Chinese economy from an agrarian to an industrial society resulting in wide-spread famine. This policy directly, and indirectly, accounts for the deaths of between 23-53 million people with an additional 2.5 million deaths relating to imprisonment and torture for various 'crimes against the state' (add another million plus that committed suicide along the way).
In 2001 Gordon Chang wrote the book 'The Coming Collapse of China' and not 8 years later Martin Jaques wrote the book 'When China Rules The World: The Rise Of The Middle Kingdom And The End Of The Western World'. Then in 2018 we came full circle with Red Flags: Why Xi's China Is in Jeopardy by George Magnus. It seems as if every other book about China is either predicting it's rise or it's fall, even academic experts do not agree on what the outcome will be.
China still declares that it is a communist country wherein its national anthem (the 'March of the Volunteers'), its constitution, and its liberal use of the hammer and sickle make it abundantly clear that they are not joking about their core philosophy. Yet Xi Jinping has spent the entirety of his presidency giving speeches that call for the world to fight against protectionism economic policy and adopt free trade globalization.